Letters to the Editor

Mr Ringland's thorough examination of Troubles misses the point

Trevor Ringland in his latest contribution (June 4) goes to great lengths to interpret statistics of the conflict that blighted this province. Along with his attention to detail he deserves credit for his meticulous research into the scrutiny of the defunct Historical Enquiries Team’s work that was mysteriously ended. The detailed analysis is truly thought provoking as he offers a breakdown of the casualties of war or ‘the Troubles’ a widely accepted alternative. There is, however, an overriding feeling that he is truly missing the point in his categorisation of the beastly crimes of the ‘Troubles’, apportioning each sordid one to the particular faction involved. Out of this thorough examination he quotes from the ‘RUC GC Foundation’ where included in his statistics he discovers the police were responsible for 52 deaths, the army 309 deaths. Although he doesn’t offer an extensive breakdown of the nature of fatalities simply adding as an after thought ‘state forces were legally entitled to take life in specific circumstances’. One clandestine murder by ‘state forces’ is one too many, it subverts the universally used motto ‘to serve and protect’.

Trevor is perfectly legitimate in this subjective view but would he not agree that the most heinous of crimes were those carried out by ‘state forces’ those who swore an oath, took a vow to protect all citizens of the northern statelet? 

In the perfumed world envisioned by Mr Ringland it appears he has plan one that will right all the wrongs as he sees it is to pursue all suspected murderers and prosecute them with the full rigours of Northern Ireland law – a noble gesture no doubt.

This does not address the obvious issues at hand, issues which he is plainly ignoring as he freely admits ‘we never again allow unnecessary conflict to emerge on this island’. In a tolerant, pluralist and open society, one which has at its central core equality and non-sectarian practices, there should be no need for any type of conflict. Equally in this same society there should be no unnecessary need for one denomination to impress a set of values or moral principles upon another. If one section of society disagrees with egregious policies adopted by a falsely perceived entitled section there should be debate not imposition. A mature and proper response would be non-selective approach, accept one’s role in the past and stand up and be accountable for it.  

KEVIN McCANN
Belfast BT1

 

Political stability could be stop on road to healing

Trevor Ringland’s letter – ‘Perhaps it’s time to properly deal with our past and be mature about it’ (June 4) – displays his research into the deaths during our recent ‘conflict’ quite well. His statistics about [more or less] who killed who are his. This I do know, each and everyone of those numbers are men and women and children that had their lives taken from them and each and everyone left grieving people behind them.

So I’m with Mr Ringland there. I have some substantial doubt around his comment that “only the security forces were legally entitled to take life in specific circumstances”. This to me is a naive tack to take given the history of this place. Yet taking a strict view of the law he is correct. But here we have conflicting perceptions as to ‘rightness and wrongness’ in conflict.

Internment was ‘lawful’ and disastrous; ‘hooded men’, they were unfairly treated but it was lawful and disastrous. Letting people die on hunger was not unlawful and disastrous.

My point is that defending “law” as an eternal and just solution to everything doesn’t hold water – here anyway.

Mr Ringland is right the Troubles should never have happened. A flawed ideology is what kicked this mess off.

My recollection is that the IRA has apologised, disarmed, decommissioned. Some loyalists have apologised but held onto their arms.

The notion that one who (with good reason) used force against those considered (with good reason) to be oppressors will turn themselves in, be released on license, is a hopeless aspiration.

A suggestion might be for loyalists to come to terms with the reality that there is a republican analysis which has electoral support – to willingly embrace the terms of the GFA and embrace inclusively.

Getting political stability through out all our communities, with parity of esteem and an acknowledgement of difference could be a stop on the road to healing.

MANUS McDAID
Derry City

 

Go for the man not the ball

I found my head somewhat melted by the ho-ha surrounding Peter Robinson’s appointment to  professorship at QUB. There were two elements I noted –  the appointment itself and also what he said. Unlike many of the dissenters, I actually attended Peter’s lecture, heard what the man said and more importantly understand the context in which it was said. Some of the ideas he floated I will need  to think on for a while.

On the appointment itself  perhaps, in the middle of a World Cup, a football analogy might be appropriate. When you know your arguments are bankrupt and your position is weak you go for the man not the ball. When you understand this strategy everything becomes much clearer. The left don’t believe in the individual, they act more like a collective, or a species. They are not original thinkers, they get this from their instruction manual by Saul Alinsky. So to recap bankrupt argument/weak position go for the man, not the ball. As the little Meerkat would say “simple”.

BRIAN GIBSON
Comber, Co Down

 

A dark day in Ireland’s history

Like J Diamond (June 13) I no longer care what goes on in the Republic. Gone are the days when we foolishly thought we were in God’s country when we came to Dundalk when travelling from the north. The allegations of cruelty and abuse cover-up in the Church across Ireland has touched every member and given reason to stay away. Now it’s anything goes – choose what you like and please yourself. I often wonder if the Church had dealt with all abusers when the deeds became known would life be different. The world was in shock about child abuse and rightly so. Why is this same shock not evident when we hear about the abuse of a little human being becoming legal?   

R McNALLY
Co Armagh 

 

Tories in turmoil

The turmoil in Westminster will lead to fraught negotiations and inevitably the EU will insist on backstop provisions for the north to remain in any deal. That is a hard fact. Another is that when the negotiations with EU go pear shaped for the Tories, they will be all too ready to give way to the backstop in the north to protect their own Brexit position for the hard right in the party.
To achieve this they will dump the DUP and rely on Labour and others to help them get them through a deal involving Northern Ireland in the customs union. 

MARTIN KEENAN
Belfast BT11

 

Good to quit when you are ahead

Sometimes I think letter writers should stop while they are ahead.  There is no justifying Gerard Herdman’s nonsensical claim (June 14) that voting for the sectarian DUP is not a vote for the party. He is entitled to his views on abortion as the next man. I personally believe unless you walk in that young woman’s shoes you can’t really judge.

JOHN McCANN
Belfast BT15

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